When Josh and I found out we were having a boy, I cried. Not that I had wanted another girl necessarily–I didn’t really care–it was just that, as my hormonal, pregnant self put it, “He’s going to have cooties and be gross!” Josh, thinking I needed some encouragement, suggested we read a book together about raising sons. We picked up Wild Things by Stephen James and David Thomas. It’s an excellent book, but when we finished reading it I cried for hours and hours–this time because “It’s just going to be too hard! He’s going to be a teenager and have boy parts and he won’t know how to talk about his feelings!” Again, hormones may have played a teensy part in those fears.
But when Gareth was born, I fell hard for that little guy. And one of my first thoughts was, “He’s going to grow up and leave me!” Josh assured me that by the time he was 18 I’d probably want him to leave me. I remain unconvinced. But he’s only one year right now, so time will tell.
On the one hand, having a daughter is an incredible blessing. It means dress up, friendship, fanciness, and cuddles. I love seeing the person she’s becoming. But Emmeline drives me crazy in a way only a daughter could. It’s kind of a “Emmeline. Stop whining. I pulled the same thing with my mom. I know what you’re doing here, now grow up” kind of crazy. But Josh? He hates it when his baby girl is upset. She has him wrapped around his finger in a way only a daddy could be.
It’s the same with me and Gareth. And there’s a very fancy, psychological explanation, which Josh told me because he’s a genius, and I forgot because I’m less of a genius. But basically, it comes down to this: with that smile, he gets away with murder. I call it his “Mommy, you’re so pretty!” face. And one day, he’s going to grow up and leave me, and love another woman more than me. But hopefully she will be a good woman who will like me and won’t take him away from me but will let us visit and will let him hug me, and she won’t be insecure about my relationship with Gareth or feel like I’m taking her job when I want to do something to help him. Hopefully. Because he’s my baby, and I love him.
I’ve promised (or threatened, depending on your point of view) that when he’s grown I’m going to have a house key, and I’ll sneak into his room late at night and rock him like the mommy in Love You Forever (which is a must-have children’s book if you’re a mommy to a boy). That won’t be weird, and his wife will be OK with it because I know he’s going to marry an understanding woman and she is going to love me–and give me a house key. It’s cool.
And sometime between now and when he gets married I should probably visit a shrink because I clearly have unresolved fears towards my future daughter-in-law. But that can wait. Because Gareth is still little right now, and I’m still his favorite woman on the planet, and we both like it that way.